Week of August 15, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
It was an international invasion of chalky proportions at Arlington Park as heavily-favored European horses swept the Secretariat Stakes, Beverly D. Stakes and Arlington Million. There was also plenty of turf racing elsewhere, as well as a few juveniles stakes races.
Treasure Beach was the only close call in the Grade 1 Secretariat, holding off fellow European shipper Ziyaird in a thrilling stretch duel. Both colts were making their first U.S. appearances, no word on what’s next for either. Grade 1 Beverly D. victress Stacelita made her first U.S. start last out in open company in the United Nations Stakes (replay) where she ran a game third to Teak’s North (who ran fourth in the Sword in the Dancer at Saratoga). This time she had a much cleaner trip, putting the talented field of fillies away with ease. Now based in the U.S. for trainer Chad Brown, her next stop might be the Flower Bowl on Oct 1 at Belmont Park. Cape Blanco made it two for two in the U.S. with his dominating win the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Just like in the Grade 1 Man o’War (replay), Cape Blanco defeated current reigning U.S. turf champion Gio Ponti by two lengths. It seems likely that more U.S. racing is in store for Cape Blanco, which includes a start in the Breeders’ Cup turf in November. Gio Ponti’s next start is likely to be the Shadwell Turf Mile or the Woodbine Mile.
At Saratoga, Winchester made his usual eye-popping run from last to first to take the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational. Trainer Christophe Clement noted that his next start would either be the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Oct. 1 or the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 16. Fan favorite and Canadian champion Rahy’s Attorney, who finished second, was pulled-up and vanned off after the race, but seems to be doing well with no report of injury. On Friday Big Blue Kitten stepped up into stakes company by notching his fifth straight win in the Grade 2 National Racing Museum Hall of Fame Stakes after winning four of five starts in claiming and allowance company. No word yet on what’s next Big Blue Kitten. On Sunday juvenile fillies took the spotlight in the Grade 2 Adirondack with the highly regarded and heavily favored My Miss Aurelia dueling with Matron winner (replay) Millionreasonswhy. My Miss Aurelia is likely to make her next start in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga on Sept 4, where she may meet Schuylerville Stakes winner (replay), Georgie’s Angel.
At Del Mar, Burns also notched his first stakes win in the Grade 2 La Jolla and gave trainer Barry Abrams, who is recovering from throat cancer, his first win of the meet. Cozi Rosie snuck through on the rail to upset the John C. Mabee. Heavily favored Harmonious was a game fourth, making her patented late run a bit too late.
Elsewhere, Groupie Doll stepped up into stakes company making just her fourth lifetime start as the only 3-year-old in the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes field at Ellis Park. Also earning her first graded victory was Savvy Supreme who won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park.
On Monday super-mare Goldikova goes for her 15th Grade 1 win in the Marois at Deauville in France and at Saratoga 2-year-old colts look for graded earnings in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.
Also last week was the annual Racing Hall of Fame induction for the class of 2011: trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Safely Kept, Open Mind and Sky Beauty. Open Mind and Sky Beauty were both winners of the Triple Tiara racing series, which concludes this coming weekend with running of the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. It’s Tricky, winner of the Acorn Stakes (replay) and the Coaching Club American Oaks (replay) will try to become the first filly since Sky Beauty to win the series. Can she do it? Be sure to tune in NBC on Saturday to find out! We’ll also have a Ten Things You Should Know About the Alabama Stakes this week.
Are you new or relatively new to handicapping? Or perhaps you’ve been at a while and are wondering how other players keep their routine from stagnating? This week we’ll publish an in-depth discussion about handicapping process that looks at tools, angles, thought-process and more. It’s not easy getting players to give up their process, but our participants do just that, and there’s something for everyone in this action-packed post!
NBC Sports scheduled coverage of Saratoga:
Sat Aug 20: Alabama – NBC
Sat Aug 27: Travers – NBC
Sat Sept 3: Woodward – Versus
Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!